We won't find out who the official winner of the first Rift Rivals is until Saturday afternoon but the outlook is grim for the European League of Legends Championship Series. North America doubled down on its collective successes during the final stretch on Friday, winning five out of six matches in Berlin. Here's how Day 3 went down.
The sole European team to find a win was the Unicorns of Love (3-3), who took down Cloud9 (3-3) at the beginning of the day. Unlike Thursday, it was not mid laner Fabian "Exileh" Schubert who stepped up to put the team on his back, but was instead AD carry Samuel "Samux" Fernandez Fort, who put on an outstanding performance on Twitch. His timing with Spray and Pray was the deciding factor in the match, as one crucial misstep from Cloud9 gave him three uninterrupted seconds of continuous fire on every member of Cloud9, costing Cloud9 its lives late in the game, leaving the game in the Unicorn's hooves.
Thus, the Unicorns managed to secure its spot in the finals by stomping Cloud9, simply managing to pick up a win while all of its fellow countrymen failed to do so. There's no doubt that UoL has managed to improve over the course of the tournament in a way that the other EU teams simply couldn't. Fnatic (2-4) and G2 Esports (1-5) were still playing with the same playbook at the end of the event as they were at the beginning, and the results can be seen in the match score lines. The Unicorns, on the other hand, lived up to their reputation of unpredictability, keeping the NA teams guessing.
Speaking of NA teams, it's only fitting that we look at the best team in the event, North America's representative in the Finals, Team SoloMid. TSM (5-1) had a tremendous day that saw them take own both of the presumptive "best" teams from Europe, G2 Esports and Fnatic. While the former match was surprisingly close -- which was unexpected considering G2's record at the event -- it was brought to an end in traditional Team SoloMid fashion: a huge play from mid laner Soren "Bjergsen" Bjerg's Cassiopeia. For the latter, TSM demolished Fnatic, who brought its signature brand of AD carry Martin "Rekkles" Larsson-focused teamplay and got summarily decimated by NA's finest.
Now, all that's left standing between Team SoloMid and utter dominance at the inaugural NA vs. EU Rift Rivals is the Unicorns of Love. At first glance, this is a lopsided matchup, as Team SoloMid has thus far dominated all of the European teams, yet it might not be as cut and dry for the NA side as one might think. The Unicorns of Love did, notably, take down Team SoloMid during Day 2 of this tournament and have overwhelmingly dominated TSM on the international stage throughout the histories of the two organizations, all the way back to their first meeting at IEM San Jose years ago. The question of which region is better, NA or EU, will be temporarily answered on Saturday as TSM and UoL square off at 12 p.m. ET.